It is not nice to have an infestation of bed bugs. One bed bug can turn into hundreds of bed bugs so quickly you will be utterly shocked.
What are bed bugs?
The most basic description of this is simply that bed bugs are classed as parasites or parasitic insects (Cimex lectularius (Cimicidae)). A parasite or parasitic insect is basically an organism, plant, bug or insect which lives off another organism or what is more commonly called a host. In this case the host is us, they live off of us. The feed from our blood, they can increase in size by up to ten times. They will only feed from animals which are warm blooded which us humans are very much so, this makes us very much the ideal host for these ugly, blood sucking parasites. Normally you do not know you have bed bugs as they will feed on you while you are sleeping. You will only know that you have them by the fact that you may have skin irritations which we will go into in depth later.
Are bed bugs dangerous to humans?
That is debatable, in essence, no; bed bugs are not dangerous to humans unless you are committed to long term exposure to the bugs. Basically worded, the longer that a human is exposed to the effects of the bed bugs, then the more the human becomes immune to the saliva that the bed bug injects when feeding from you, in the long term you may result in suffering from an allergic reaction. This may be very mild or very intense. You will know if you have become bed bug saliva sensitive as you will have bites scattered about your body, they will have a very similar appearance to the bites you will receive from gnats, mosquitos and fleas. You will find that most people will automatically assume that they have been bitten by an insect such as a flea, mosquito or something similar.
Image Credit : flickr.com
You will find that the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius)that we all know and love has adapted really well to our human environments, liking the temperate climate in which we live. The bed bug named Cimex hemiterus is a breed which is more commonly found in tropical climes. You will find that with this breed of bed bugs, that they do not find us particularly tasty, they tend to prefer poultry and bats as their chief host.Leptocimex boueti is a variety of the bed bug which you will find most commonly in South America and West Africa you will find tends to enjoy the flavor of bats blood and our blood.
You will find that if you are going to be eaten alive by these putrid creatures, then it will normally happen sometime within the hour before sunrise. An hour before the sun rises you will normally find is the optimum time for bed bug activity. However, saying this, you may find that you get bitten at any time of the day or the night, it just depends how hungry the bed bugs are. If you have not slept in your bed for a while, then the bed bugs may be dormant until you get into bed, they will inevitably be hungry, so you will get a deluge of bites from hungry bugs, be it morning, lunch, evening or through the night.
How do bed bugs get their feed?
Bed bugs are ingenious. They can be picked up from such places as the bus, train, or coach. They can carry themselves on your coat, jacket, skirt or trousers, second hand furniture and on occasion new furniture, especially if it has been sat in a showroom. Once you have gotten home and taken off of your coat, then you will find that they are no longer on your body so how will they feed off of you? What they actually do is climb up the walls. Once they have climbed up the walls, they will walk along the ceiling and explore it until they feel a wave of heat or the sense C02 (Carbon Dioxide). They then know that they are directly above a human body so they will let go of the ceiling and drop down on to your body and ‘Bob’s your uncle’ it is dinner time.
Now the parasite has found you, it will want to feed, it will insert two hollow tubes which are its feeding tubes into your skin, and one contains saliva which serves as a form of anesthetic which is injected into you. This is to ensure that you do not feel the injection. If you do feel the injection then you will wake and know he is there and brush him off, thus preventing his feed. This tube also contains anti-coagulants, which will ensure that the blood does not clot and prevent the feed taking place. Then you will find that the other tube is obviously for feeding with. Bed bugs do not feed all night long every night, they only feed for about five minutes every five to ten days, although if there is no one at the house for a while because you are away on business or a trip of some description. Bed bugs can live for a good 6-8 months without a feed. But will have a feeding frenzy on your return.
What are the signs of an infestation?
First and foremost you need to be able to identify the fact that you have bed bugs, but how do you identify the fact that you have bed bugs:
- 1mm long eggs which are a pearl white color.
- 1mm long pupae which look like bed bugs eggs moving over the bed sheets.
- Bed bugs will change five times during the course of their lives becoming darker with each stage of development that they go through.
- Adult bed bugs are a lot larger at ¼ inch long and tend to have a more tan color and flat, very disc like.
- Symptoms of a Bed bug bite usuallyshow up as red, itchy spots but can range from one individual bite to a row of bites.
- Dogs can apparently pick up the scent of the bed bugs and have been confirmed as an aid for early detection of the bugs.